Hi everyone,

i'm looking for abit of advice from anyone out there who is experienced with using Drupal for ecommerce.

I'm making a site in the coming months which will sell guitar tutorials in video format along with a PDF to explain the tut. The site will basically be an archive of songs and lessons that people can buy.

The client wants to reward people everytime they buy by offering customers a discount or points when they buy. Is there anyone out there who has tried with before or will i have to make something custom??

I have no experience of selling digital products/donwloads and don't know where to start looking or if Drupal can offer this. I really wanna develop the site with Drupal as i feel comfortable with it although i've only been with it afew months.

a push in the right direction or any help would be brilliant, thanks in advance!!

Tom

Comments

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

That's a great idea Tom.

There are a number of options. i.e. roll your own using Drupal and the ecommerce suite (I think the paypal method of payment might be the easiest as a starting point).

With Drupals Ecommerce add-on modules, there is an option for selling downloads. It's quite a bit of work to tweak it for specific purposes, but, the main "engine" is there and it's probably prefferable than using a 3rd party download-sales option such as payloadz.com..but Drupal has all the bits and pieces to build your own payloadz type service and customise it for your own use.

My advice would be to have a look at the ecommerce suite of modules (not sure if that's available for 4.7 yet) setup your account at paypal to test it (which is free) and then take it from there.

Based on what you said, it sounds like a natural progression to offer streaming video of "how to play" clips to sit beside the guitar tabs etc. and there are some subscription modules (I spotted at least one for paypal) that you could use for regulars.

bottom line is that you have the choice of building your site with Drupal and using a third party to handle the download sales, or you can use Drupal to do everything. Which is more work but also more flexible and profitable at the end of the day (most 3rd parties charge a setup fee + comission on every sale)

hope that helps...

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

syawillim’s picture

Drupal can definately handle this type of thing, I have used it for a few eCommerce sites.

The eCommerce module allows you to apply discounts to certain rolls and the user points module (I have not used this) could probably be used to change a users role after they make X number of purchases, allowing them to recieve a higher discount.

I have had some correspondence regarding eCommerce 4.7 and believe that it is not too far off and it is going to have some very cool features in it, but as with Drupal itself it will be ready when it's ready.

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bombaclot’s picture

After paying for the downloadable product the file doesn't show up under "myfiles" Also if you click the link in the transaction history. it goes to the node NOT the file. Let me know if you've made it work and your ideas.
Thanks alot!

thomjjames’s picture

Hi, i originally started this topic and i'm now at testing phrase of my site.

i've had the downloads working with paypal [although i've made afew changes to make the whole shopping experience better for file downloads, may release them later if the client allows me to].

i'd check is that you have IPN turned on and pointing to the right place on your server. you need to do all these from your paypal account, also check your admin log and look to see if the 'IPN has been hit'.

hope that helps

Tom

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Dublin Drupaller’s picture

I tried the same Tom and I had a problem with the Paypal IPN that stumped me at first..i.e. the correct IPN link wasn't been constructed properly. Found a patch which sorted that.

hopefully your client will okay the release of what you've done.

I'd love to tweak some of the workflow and theming with selling file downloads using the ecommerce.module and add ons, but, it's going to take a while.

Incidentally, one application I'm tweaking it for is Ringtones & mobile content which is relatively easy. A simple WAP theme allows the shopper to login using their mobile phone and download their ringtones/wallpaper or video using the out-of-the-box "my files" link.

Having looked at how other commercial shops sell ringtones, when it comes to truetones or realtones (mp3 clips), almost all of them *don't* send the ringtone by SMS, instead they send a WAP link..which in Drupal is relatively easy to do by applying a WAP theme to an existing site.

not sure if that's of use to others...but the out-of-the-box file.module add-on for ecommerce is pretty good for selling ringtones and mobile content.

dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

bombaclot’s picture

So I used the patch entitled paypal_base_url.patch and I still have the same problem....The paypal payment is made and then I'm sent back to my transaction page. I click on the one item, it pops up a new window, it says file.mp3, but when I click on it, it takes me back to the node

Here's how the page looks (it looks all good,but doesn NOT link to the file):
--------------
nid sku title sort icon qty type
1143 Jezebel - One Part Push (.MP3) 1 file
Unique items: 1
Total quantity: 1
------------
....Also under "myfiles"

It brings up the following:
---------
M's files

Click here to view your expired files.
You have no files to download.
---------

So there's nothing to download. Any ideas at all. I'm a little frustrated. By the way was the patch for 4.6?

Thanks for hanging in there with me guys.
Signed, bummed out.

thomjjames’s picture

Brilliant, thanks for such useful and rapid responses!

i want have the freedom to customise as needed so i think i'll take Dubs advice and get playing with the ecommerce module! I'm not affraid to get my hands dirty to get the results i'm after!!

the client has already said their happy to use paypal, so no problems there. Yeah i think a subscription idea for regulars would be good too so i'll put that to them as well.

At present i don't know how the client wants to deliever the downloads.
Would it be possible to offer customers a compressed bundle of video and tab/pdf, so they save it to their computers for future reference and save on bandwidth???

again thanks for your help,

cheers
Tom

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http://themelize.me - Premium Drupal & Web Themes

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

(I work on music based projects)

Interesting question about what's the best way to bundle downloads.

My 2 cents is as follows (and this doesn't necessarily fit with what you're doing but, it's an interesting discussion point)

One of the main reasons I am playing with Drupal for music sites, is the ability for an artist or band to sell an album direct, but, also offer digital.

e.g.

Fan goes to the artist shop at the artist site and are presented with the following options for a 12-song album:

option 1: buy the full physical album. When the order is complete (i.e. payment made) the physical album is despatched by post and a link where the fan can download the full album in mp3 format is provided - so they can get it straight away. Full album cost = €14.99

Option 2: fan can buy individual songs in MP3 format at €0.59 cents per track or €5.99 for the full album

Option 3 Fan can buy individual songs in WAV format at €0.99 cents per track or €9.99 for the full album.

For the un-initiated a comressed MP3 file is *NOT* the same as what's on a CD. there is a difference. MP3 is great for portable players, listening on computer/headphones etc. most wouldn't notice the difference, but, if a fan wants to appreciate the album in the way the artists intended in the studio, they have the option of buying a digital copy in WAV format..which is the *SAME* as what is on the CD.

I don't know how that "bundling" idea fits with your training material stuff...but, a lot of artists I work with are sorta dismayed that the online digital music shopping culture tends to be track-by-track. After they (the artists) have spent an extraordinary amount of time working out track order and giving it a lot of thought (the amount of punch-ups and arguments I have witnessed over that is too numerous to mention). But the above, does at least offer the choice that regular online stores don't.

Would it be possible to offer customers a compressed bundle of video and tab/pdf, so they save it to their computers for future reference and save on bandwidth???

the quick answer is YES. The beauty of rolling your own with Drupal means that you can do both. i.e. offer it on-demand to subscribers or offering a bundle to download-and-own.

My two cents would be that your site might be more suited to a subscriber based system - with the option of buying-and-downloading a few of their favourites they wouldn't like to lose. In other words, it's more a community site than a walk-in-off-the-street-and-buy-something site.

Also, it's easier with what you are doing, from a licensing point of view, to plan and operate in a subscription based way at the outset (if you're in the UK click through to the JOL License details from the PRS/MCPS).

not sure if that is of any help..but the whole thing about "bundling/selling downloads" with music stuff is a hot topic at the moment and thought I'd mention how I'm approaching it when selling music. Drupal is great for that, because you decide which options are available.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

syawillim’s picture

Yeah great idea get in and get your hands dirty, but I'm not sure if the CVS version of eCommerce is 4.7 compatable yet.

Dub...your comment about people purchasing single tracks as opposed to albums, I think you can lay the blame squarely with commercial radio. I don't know about the UK but here in OZ they will generally only play 1 or 2 tracks from an album, most of the punters wouldn't even know the artist had an album.

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a blogging community for the socially conscious

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It's on its way!

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

you maybe right..but I would tend not to blame commercial radio - they make their money from advertising, not from music. So their playlists would tend to fit a demographic that attracts the most advertisers, not playlists featuring the best music.

The single track buying culture is, I think, more to do with the a la carte way music is sold online.

There is more music available to people (via online stores), but, fans don't have more money to spend on more music. Instead of buying a few albums by a few artists, they'll buy more individual songs, from more artists. So the average spend on music is roughly the same, but, it's spread out more.

Kids have been screwed by labels for years, padding out albums with fillers they don't want. So, the upcoming generation don't even know what an album is. As opposed to those over 24 or 25 who understood and grew up with the album concept.

Were veering away from the Drupal discussion, but, to try and steer it back a little..Drupal is great for artists who want to sell their online AND offer the option to fans how they want their music. Without Drupal, the band/label would have to sign a few deals with a few third parties to satisfy all options.

The "bundling" model I outlined above, is a simple way of using Drupal to sell music online in a way that would probably suit singer/songwriter and original artists more than pop artists who tend to attract kids.

Incidentally, anyone interested in podcasting - the MCPS & PRS in the UK just announced their new Podcasting license which is much cheaper and simpler than before for non-commercial purposes.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

thomjjames’s picture

Hi,

thanks again for sharing your knowledge with me!

the client has already covered all the licencing issues so i don't need to worry about that, which is good.

Would my plan to bundle video into a zip or sit [compressed] run the risk of corrupting the video files, or does that depend how the user decompresses the bundle?? Obviously the best way to test that is to try it, but just wondering if anyone knew before i tried.

Dubs, do you have any examples of sites you have done that offer digital downloads??

cheers

Tom

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http://themelize.me - Premium Drupal & Web Themes

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

yep. Am beta testing an artist members area that allows MP3 downloads using the out of the box ecommerce suite.

Too early to share, I'll drop you an email when it's presentable - I'm stuck on the ringtones and mobile downloads element - but the a la carte pay-and-download music thing works fine out of the box.

I'm using the FILE module add-on that comes with the ecommerce suite and paypal as the method of payment (the paypal.module that comes with the ecommerce suite - when setup correctly, Paypal automatically "pings" the commerce suite when someone has paid.)

I didn't use ZIP files for individual songs...the MP3 file, when purchased, will automatically start downloading to your computer when the "download" link is clicked, although, I will be using ZIP & TAR files for full albums (mac/Linux users sent TAR, PC users sent ZIP or offered the choice) and bundled downloads. (I just did a proof of concept to see if the Drupal ecommerce suite could do it for an individual download. using Drupal 4.6.6)

I need to do another sweep on it before sharing a link on here (mainly theming & slight functionality tweaks) but if you're looking for a real world example, you could try projectopus.com which is a community based site that sells individual downloads - where users buy USER POINTS using paypal and then use points to buy music/downloads.

The solution I'm working at the moment on is not really a projectopus type thing...it's more like a MY-TUNES or mitunes type service for a band/artist to sell their music direct. I'm just concentrating on just getting the music pay-and-download elements finished for normal browsers first...but, I'm also going to include a WAP variation so ringtones and maybe videos can be bought and downloaded as well.

If there's an overlap of activities on that front..please drop me an email. I'm not going as far as creating a mitunes.module or mobilecontent.module but the deeper I get into it, the more sense I can see in maybe pulling something like that together.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

bombaclot’s picture

Hi, man I think you're the most helpful and knowledgeable contributor in the history of the universe. I've installed the ecommerce modules and they seem ok, except when someone pays for a file, it doesn't show up back in their "myfiles" area. If you click the "view item" link after you view your order history a window pops up w/this in it:
---------------------
nid sku title qty type
1321 boot 1
Unique items: 1
Total quantity: 1
----------
but when you click the product, it takes you to the node, NOT the file. So what in the world is going on?
Any idea? Also, do you have a link to a current ecommerce package (modules) that I can try downloading and replacing my current edition?

-Finally, it seems that the file.module in the ecommerce package conflicted w/ the file.module I had installed earlier outside the ecommerce, so when I disabled that one, the ecom file download option finally appeared in the product type selections, but the above problem is still preventing me from selling.

Thanks Dub. I appreciate it. I'm still an intermediate at best. Oh well, at least I'm not a Rookie any more.
Cheers

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Haven't had a chance to install it yet..sorry. I'll give it a lash over the weekend (am up to my gills today) and get back to you.

however, I was following this discussion with interest earlier...might offer an insight to MP3s as a product..

http://drupal.org/node/62906

Talk later

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi bombaclot..

Just tried the latest ecommerce suite download with 4.7...the out of the box file downloads option doesn't work. (I tried it with paypal as the payment option and a few others to try it out).

I'm going to try and find some of the patches floating around and see if they work. It's a pity, because overall, it's much much better organised than the 4.6 version and there are some new features that are very good.

Talk later

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

bombaclot’s picture

Did you have the same issues I mentioned? I haven't had much chance to work on it, but it looks like a simple problem with the file being referenced. Let me know what you come up with. Thanks for the work.

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Hi Bombaclot..

I'm almost there...will give you a shout when I've got it working...

Incidentally..I spotted another very good service for setting up your own mobile content shop...(allows you to sell video, music, images and files).

http://drupal.org/node/65838

Called Artists-First it's designed to bolt on to an existing website...it might be a useful workaround until the ecommerce suite comes of age, when it comes to download sales. One of their unique selling points is that people can use their mobile phone to buy content.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

Dublin Drupaller’s picture

Just thought I'd mention that 7digital in the UK just launched a new service that allows bands to D.I.Y. their own digital music releases..

http://www.indiestore.com/

I've nothing to do with 7digital, although I have used them many times in the past, especially for single releases (they report sales to the official chart company) and campaigns.

Not quite the ideal thing for your guitar PDFs sales thing...but, in case other Drupallers involved in music sites are watching this space..thought I'd mention it. the chart reporting and DIY element is quite important for bands/artists and a fairly unique service.

What I would tend to do or advise, is stick with Drupal for your own Digital Music Store (which means you don't have to give anyone else a comission/pay a fee just to sell your music) and use the indiestore thing for single releases.

Dub

Currently in Switzerland working as an Application Developer with UBS Investment Bank...using Drupal 7 and lots of swiss chocolate

litebulb1’s picture

Does anybody know how to make the file automatically download after being redirected from paypal?

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Phillip Mc’s picture

this might help:

http://elouai.com/force-download.php

Philk